Friday, April 30, 2010

dessert for walpurgis

And the bakemania goes on. My uncle and his wife came today for the weekend so I had a perfect excuse to make a nice dessert. Decided to make a panna cotta of some kind since it is usually so delicious and easy to make. In fall I made this incredible saffron panna cotta that is one of the best desserts I have ever made. And you can just imagine how beautiful it looks with its bright yellow color.

But this time I decided to go for a white chocolate panna cotta with a layer of mango on top. Really nice I must say. (Then I actually also baked another cake, a liquorice mud cake but that I am waiting to taste until tomorrow.)

Delicious white chocolate panna cotta with mango layer topped with roasted coconut flakes.

utrikesdepartementet, here i come!

May 17th I start working again.

At the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Utrikesdepartementet)! Cannot wait.

The meeting went well today and they just presented what they were doing and then I presented myself. They did not yet have specifics on what my tasks will be, only a few early ideas but they will figure it out until I start.

Sure, it is almost like having an unpaid internship but I do not care. I think I will get about half of what I had as a student, so it will not be a lot. It will be nice though, to do something. And especially to 'do something' at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

i am updated

Finally it was time for my Spotify to get updated to the new version. Been waiting for a few days now. Love the fact that you now can import your local files, a feature I really like. There are still several tracks and artists that are not on Spotify and now you can just import them instead of having two different players. Me like.

The social aspect seems quite nice too, that you have a friends list in Spotify. Now I just have to wait until the friends get the new version too, cause now I only have me on my friend list.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

raspberry and peach crumble

The bakemania continues. Something is baked at least once a week nowadays it seems. Tonight I was just feeling for something sweet and since I love pies and it is so easy to make I decided to go for that.

I took what we had at home and I ended up with a raspberry and peach crumble. Really nice combination I must say, especially with the touch of lemon peel I had in as well. A piece of crumble with some vaniljvisp (a type of light, fluffy custard). Yummy.

I got the basic recipe from my new favorite baking blog Kalasgott where she had a recipe for a berry crumble.

one step closer to the internship

Two weeks ago I sent in my CV for the internship at Regeringskansliet (the Government Offices of Sweden) that I went to a meeting to hear about. Last week I finally got the call I had been waiting for. A woman called and wanted to have a meeting with me regarding an internship at the Foreign Ministry of Affairs. I think it is just to meet me and see who I am and perhaps give some information, I do not think it is even an interview. The word she used was 'meeting' and as they explained before, it is not like a normal procedure for applying to jobs.

Anyway, on Thursday I will be heading in to Stockholm to meet this woman for a meeting. Hopefully I will start my internship as soon as possible. Really looking forward to it.

Although, I am not looking forward to all the commuting. Approximately one hour in one direction. I also have to figure out how to actually get to the train station from home since I do not have a car on my own, but hopefully we will figure it out. Hopefully I can also stay at some friends' places a night now and then.

Friday, April 23, 2010

danish taxes, no like

After I got the bad news about my Danish tax declaration I was really bummed out. It said I had to pay 9 500 DKK since I had paid too little tax throughout the year. Which I totally did not understand since I had declared my yearly salary and for sure did not earn more than that since I stopped working and left the country. But somehow they have a system that I still do not understand at all, they apparently do some recalculations to get a new yearly income of what I earned during the months I was actually registered in Denmark. In the end that yearly income was a lot higher than my actual total salary during 2009. It is just strange.

I asked several Danish people to have a look at it to see if it was correct, a Danish man at mom's job looked through my papers and did calculations and came up that it all seemed correct. Damn. With one last effort I called Skat, the Danish tax authorities, to make them explain why they calculated the way they did. I eventually got hold of a man that talked English and actually could explain it a little (although I still do not understand the system). He suggested me to send in some papers stating that I wanted them to use my actual yearly salary and not the calculated one, and another paper stating that I did not have an income when I came back to Sweden. So I did.

That was last week and I have been waiting to get a new tax statement online and the other day it had appeared. I was really hoping that the amount to be paid had been lowered, the man I talked to thought that I should be able to get it lowered if I send in those papers which I did.

I check out the new tax statement and see that now the number is only 6 900 DKK instead of 9 500 DKK, and I feel good that it got lowered at least a bit. Then I see the text in front of those numbers and I realize that it is actually 6 900 DKK that will be paid out. It is not the amount that I will have to pay, I will get that amount back. I was truly happy, this was what I was hoping in the first place, to get money back.

It is all just so strange. It is a difference of almost 17 000 DKK just because I demanded them to use my actual yearly income instead of the calculated one. And I do not understand at all that I had to send in proof that I had no income here in Sweden. What if I had worked? If it was so I would have paid taxes on that in Sweden and why should I then have to suffer for that in Denmark?

Anyway. I am happy. I will get money back and do not have to worry about paying them.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

what could have been

This could have been me this weekend, at the Indian wedding. At 51 seconds into the video.
And today I could have been lying on a beach in Goa.

Monday, April 19, 2010

wishing for a travel partner

Was just looking through Knivlisa's blog. She is in Asia and has been since beginning of February and does not know when she will be back in Sweden again. I wish I was there as well. Even more so now since my India trip fell through. I wish I had someone to go with me the Asia for a month or two. Or three. Or I wish that I could enjoy going by myself.

I want to travel somewhere warm. Lie on the beach somewhere in the hot sun.

Probably the best vacation ever, Bantanyan island in Philippines.

cancelling my flights

Went to Arlanda airport again today. Today I got the number 488 and the board showed 397, no fewer people in waiting this time. However, it took almost the same time as last Thursday since all the numbers ahead of me where actually there waiting and not many had left.

After waiting for about two hours the only thing they could help me with was the cancellation of the flights. Not any refund. For a refund I had to contact the company through which I booked the ticket. That sucked. Reading all the information in the news and websites I got the understanding that I in first place should contact the airline. But no. Now I have contact BudJet through which I made the booking and we will see how long it takes until I will get my money back.

I also called Kingfisher Airlines to see if I could get a refund. They were really helpful, I think all Indians in service centers of some kind are always so polite and helpful. To my surprise I actually will recieve money back, I thought that it would be money down the drain. I have to pay some cancellation fees, but I think I will get around 1500 SEK back out of the 2000 SEK I paid in the first place. Nice Indians giving me the money back.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

my date with drew

I did get some warmth today, by taking a dip in our bathing barrel. We defied the weather, it was dark outside, wind and rain coming and going. But it was nice to sit in 38dc warm water and just enjoy. Zipping on an apple and elderflower cider.

Then I laid in my bed figuring out what movie to watch (on Voddler), I was just looking through the movies and came across the movie My Date With Drew. There were several comments to the movie on the site and they all wrote that they became so happy and positive when seeing the movie. I can do nothing but agree, the movie made me laugh and smile until the end.

It is about Brian who decides to make a documentary about trying to get a date with Drew Barrymore in 30 days. I really liked the movie and definitely got me in a good mood. I needed that after this last few days.

So, you need cheering up? Watch My Date With Drew.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

coulda, woulda, shoulda

I could be in Chennai now, dressed in a sari at my ex-coworkers wedding. I could be enjoying the heat and sunshine. I could be eating delicious Indian food. I could be shopping fabulous accessories. I could soon be heading to Goa. I could soon be lying on the beach in Goa getting a tan.

But no. No heat and sunshine for me. Staying in windy and cold Sweden. Today has been so windy and I am freezing a lot as always. I just wish I was in a warm place right now. You cannot even go somewhere else for a last minute trip.

no india for me...

Friday, April 16, 2010

losing hope

Does not look good. Reading the news and it says you should anticipate that the airspace will be closed the whole weekend. Not good with a re-booked flight for Sunday morning. Starting to think that perhaps one should ask for a refund. On the other hand, the fee for the visa and the other ticket booked for Goa is then money down the drain.

But the 12 day trip is down to 10 if the flight on Sunday leaves, but on Monday it will only be 9 and then counting depending when the airspace is opened up again. In any way, Monday is probably my limit since we have the Goa flight booked for Tuesday. After Monday there is no point and I will ask for my money back.

This sucks.


Found some fresh asparagus when we went grocery shopping today so decided to make some asparagus soup. I love asparagus. Fresh asparagus just steamed or lightly fried with butter is simple but delicious.

The soup was really good, a simple and fast dish to make. Tasted really good to have some white wine which complemented the asparagus well.

i want company to india

Frustrated with the others. My travel companions. I am not hoping to get out on Saturday, I know that the flight to Chennai in India from Frankfurt is fully booked on Saturday and that is why I got a seat on the Sunday flight. They still want to take a chance to get on a flight to India on Saturday, problematic since I got the information that Lufthansa does not allow re-booking to other airlines.

I have acknowledged that there is no possibility that I will have a chance taking part of the wedding ceremony. They have not. I am a bit worried since I have a ticket for Sunday and they have so far made no big effort to get a re-booking and by now I fear that the Sunday flight is fully booked as well.

I still have my hopes in K since she said that she might even consider buying a new one way ticket. She really wants to get away and with the vacation days she already have taken out. I really hope that I will have someone to accompany me to India. 

The most annoying part is that they barely give me any information on what they are doing and planning. It is like they are forgetting I am in the group. Well, I got my ticket so I do not have to worry. If just K get a ticket as well, then I do not have to worry.

c as in comfort and cake

After waiting for more than two hours in line at the airport I needed some comfort food. A piece of the cake I baked and some of my favorite chips, Estrella's Grill chips, that I asked her to buy me after I found about that my flight was canceled.

This was a white chocolate cake. I absolutely love white chocolate and desperately wanted to try this. But it was disappointing, it did not taste much of white chocolate as I wanted it to. With the raspberries on the side they took over all the other flavors. Next time I will put in more white chocolate and perhaps make a layer of melted chocolate on top. Then maybe.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

no india. for now...

The flight got officially canceled soon after I wrote the last post. After dinner I decided to go to Arlanda and talk to the Lufthansa people to rebook my flight. I came in to the departure hall at terminal 5 and it is fairly empty except of the crowd in front of the SAS desk (Star Alliance including Lufthansa). I take a number and get 339. I look up at the board to see that the number just called out is 885. Great. It has to reach 999 and start over again at 1 to eventually get to my number.

I am not giving in that easy, and I do not even know how fast they are at the counter. After only one hour already 300 numbers have passed so it goes by fast. Many people have already left so ten numbers can easily go by without anyone claiming that number. Afterwards I wondered why I did not claim one of those numbers since they did not even check your ticket number.

Anyway, after a while a SAS employee stopped to say that they were closing in one hour, disregarding how many numbers where left. Great, I still had quite many numbers to go and I felt I was just one the edge to make it or not. Fifteen minutes left and 60 numbers until my number - I am thinking I am screwed, but still crossing my fingers. Then, 10 and 15 numbers pass by without any claimers. A few minutes before closing it is 335 and no one claims it or the ones up to 339. My turn. In the end they were nice to take all of us sill there waiting, there were only two left when I walked away from there. They did a nice job there at the desk with everybody.

Anywho, I got a rebooking. I knew there is only one flight leaving to Chennai from Frankfurt everyday and I was hoping to get on the one for Saturday. No such luck, fully booked. There went my only chance to be part of the wedding. I got a seat for Sunday. At least the flight seemed to have several seats left so hopefully the Copenhagen gang can get three of the remaining.

It is sad, the main reason why I was going to India in the first place was the wedding and now I have no chance for that. But what to do? Not much really. Natural disasters happen and there is nothing you can do about them. I just have to hope that the airports will be up and running by Sunday and that I will be on that flight. Then I still have 10 days to enjoy in India and have the chance to catch the Tuesday flight we booked for Goa.

That was my evening.


I need comfort. So I am making comfort food.

Making a white chocolate mud cake.

Maybe it helps just a tiny bit. But the fact that I probably will miss the wedding in India is what disappoints me the most.

no india tomorrow?

So I might not be able to go to India. That damn volcano in Iceland that are the cause of all the ash clouds coming in over Northern Europe. The consequence being that the airspace is closing and many airports too.

Stockholm airport is still open but who knows for how long. The Swedish airspace is said to be closed down at 10 p.m. tonight and I am supposed to leave 6.50 a.m. tomorrow. This blows. Apparently it will take a few days until these clouds of ash is gone too.

Copenhagen airport is closed and I read that it probably will be tomorrow as well, so my friends seem to be stuck there. And I will be stuck here in Stockholm. I was even good to book the same flights as them so we could be together on the flight to India from Frankfurt.

I am so pissed. And the wedding is on Saturday. My once in a life time opportunity down the drain.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

getting ready

Yesterday I did several preparations for the India trip and it continues today as well. Yesterday I went to sister to get a hair cut, always nicer when going to a hot and humid country to have short hair so now I have. I also picked up some necessary stuff from the pharmacy, sunscreen and medicines for eventual stomach problems. Better to be prepared.

Today I started looking through my wardrobe for appropriate clothes for India. I have been reading a bit and the best attire is not short shorts/skirt or a tight top showing off the shoulders. I actually found one dress that covers the shoulders and the knees, a dress I actually like too.

Of course we are going to be stared at either way, but I want to feel comfortable and not showing too much at least when we are in the city. But with 35 degrees celcius that will feels like 40-45 I wish I could wear shorts and a loose top showing my shoulders since I probably will be sweating. We will have to see how it is when we are there. At least when we are in Goa it seems to be more relax so that is good.

india in two days

Only two days left and then I am taking off. Taking off for vacation and an Indian wedding. It feels like this trip is going to be insane. I am not sure what to expect from it all. A new country and a totally different culture.

We lived close to Little India in Singapore but that does not really count probably. India will probably be far more intense than that little piece of Singapore.

(Chennai, picture borrowed from mckaysavage flickr)

A picture from T. Nagar market and it seems crazy. I wonder how it will feel compared to Tokyo, people-wise. Chennai is only half the size of Tokyo when measuring population, but my guess now before actually have been there is that it might feel more crowded. Tokyo never felt that crowded, only in the metro and its stations.

Perhaps one should get prepared.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

oooey gooey brownies

I mentioned the Oooey Gooey Brownies the other day. They are truly delicious. Brownies with all kinds of yummy layers on top that make them really gooey and tasty.

On top of the baked brownie there is first a layer of melted marshmallows, then a layer of yummy toffee, and last but not least a layer of chocolate truffle.

I found the recipe at a new favorite baking and cooking blog, all the photos makes me want to get baking immediately to try everything. The recipe for the Oooey Gooey Brownies (in Swedish).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

pie and brownies

I am baking Oooey Gooey Brownies. How good does that sound? Only the name made my mouth water when I read the name. Then when I saw the pictures and read what was in them it was decided. I had to make them, even though I am staying away from sweets.

First I am waiting for the Västerbotten cheese pie with broccoli that is in the oven to get ready so we can have some dinner. It is one of my favorites, broccoli and cheese pie and it always gets good reviews. Really simple and really good.

That is my Saturday entertainment since I skipped the night out in Stockholm. I do feel better today from the cold, but I do not want to risk anything since I will be starting my India trip on Friday. Better to be safe than sorry.

Friday, April 9, 2010

this post apparently became an ode to tea

When I was in Stockholm today I passed a store selling tea. I love buying loose teas, when you can smell all the lovely teas and pic just the perfect one that smells delicious. You do not randomly have to buy a plastic wrapped box judged by its name or cover, that you hope smells good when you come home and open it. Here in the store you can smell at dussins and pick the right one.

I only have to smell one or two until I find one I like. Of course I would feel silly if I asked the clerk to smell one tea jar after the other until the whole wall of tea jars have been smelled at. However, the advantage if you actually dare to ask would be that you do not overlook one that might be the perfect match. I am sure there are plenty of flavors out there just waiting to be tried by me.

Anyway, I am babbling. Or scrabbling might be a more appropriate choice of word. What I wanted to scrabble down in the first place before all these words written down into nonsense sentences: I bought two lovely smelling teas, I wanted some nice green teas so I ended up with one spicy and one fruity with litchi and elderflower (how delicious does not that sound?). I just remembered those teas in the plastic bag downstairs and thought it would taste good with a hot cup of tea after watching movies in my bed.

I open both the tea bags to smell the aroma again and imagining that I will have difficulties to choose. I was wrong. Not difficult at all. I ended up with no cup of tea.

My cold have made me lose my sense of smell and taste. In approximately four hours give or take.

the ministry of foreign affairs next?

'After rain comes sunshine' to use a cliché. Arbetsförmedlingen (employment service) sent an invitation a week ago that actually seemed interesting so it was no deal breaker that it was mandatory. This year the government have introduced a project to offer trainee positions in the public sector for unemployed. This meeting was for us with academic background in economics, political science, law or a few more. We could get the opportunity to get a trainee position at Regeringskansliet (the Government Offices of Sweden).

It is only for three months and I will only get about 4 600 SEK before tax since I am not part of the unemployment benefit scheme. Even so, I am more happy about this opportunity than the prospect I had of a full time job as a market analyst at that finance company. This is just right up my alley.

Of course it might not lead to a job within Regeringskansliet right after, but it would still be a great opportunity and experience. The best thing is that they have around 100 spots and the 90 persons invited to the meeting are basically the only ones subject to these trainee positions. They do not want the competition for the positions like for normal jobs, instead they strive for one applicant for one position. How good deal is that? I am basically granted a spot. Well, that might be an exaggeration, but with my background should I not be perfect to work there?

My number one preference is of course to get a position within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That would be excellent. I am crossing my fingers that they are not going to be so strict with the preference of a third language. My French is not so fluent. Although a position in another department would be cool too.

But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That is the number one.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

one more 'thanks, but no thanks'

Unfortunately no job as a market analyst for me. At least not at Inquiry Financial. They seemed like really nice guys and the job seemed quite interesting. But I got an email late this afternoon that said that they had moved on with some people that fit the profile better.

I cannot really blame them, I sensed it during the interview that they wanted a more person more directed to finance than me. I felt it too, it would have been a good strategical move with the job, thinking about the future. In the end though, I am not sure it would have been a good fit.

So I am not sad. I know there is something better out there for me.


Today I am waiting for a call that could have an impact on my future as unemployed.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

exercise plus me equals sore throat

It totally blows. After only the third day of taking walks and eating healthy again I get sick. Last week I had a bit of a sore throat and I thought it had passed. Yesterday after my powerwalk I started to feel something in my throat again. Unfortunately it did not pass and today both my throat and nose are a bit stuffy.

For once when I want to exercise and do something this comes along. You see, exercise and I do not go together. It has happened before. So I guess I have to take it a bit easy today and see how it goes. Perhaps I can go out tomorrow instead, the weather is dull and gray today anyway.

Monday, April 5, 2010

easter saturday

We had a little different easter dinner this year. I am not someone who strongly follow tradition, so our menu consisted of cannelloni for main course and marängsviss for dessert. The marängsviss, the typical dessert from when you where young, it is made up of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, banana slices, meringues, and chocolate sauces which we switched for nougat sauce instead, yummy!

A little bit of Apple Cosmo as a appetizer.

Delicious cannelloni.

Really happy with how the cannelloni turned out. Just filled pasta tubes pasta with ricotta cheese, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, some herbs like oregano, thyme or whatever you have got at home. Then just pour some cheese sauce on top (we bought ready made) and then crushed tomatoes spiced with basil and salt on top of it all. And some salad to that. A dish I will for sure try again.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

easter sunday

A nice stroll in the sunshine this Easter Sunday. Now I actually feel like going out for walks when the weather is getting better. Not as much fun when it was all cold, snowy, and icy outside.

I guess it is also a kick in the ass since I am going to India in less than two weeks. I will be lying on the beach in a bikini. Also something that will get me started again. I had Copenhagen and now Easter containing a little bit of everything, but now it is back to eating healthy and staying away from the unnecessary sugar.

Friday, April 2, 2010

good friday

Yesterday and today kind of sucked. I was not feeling my best yesterday, kind of a dizzy head and a body all tired. But I managed to make it to the Indian embassy to hand in the papers for the visa. Even though I thoroughly checked through everything I managed to forget the copy of the flight reservation. Thank god they had computers there and I could print out a copy, for the lovely sum of 50 SEK. So I had to pay the visa fee, plus the computer fee, and a round trip ticket to Stockholm for 100 SEK. She said the visa process is only 2-4 working days now when it is slow season, good thing since it otherwise is 10 days and I will be leaving in 10 days.

Otherwise I am just resting and lying in my bed watching series and stuff. Trying not to become sick once again, but I think it has almost passed now. Just some short thing it seems.

Mom and dad headed out yesterday to my aunt's cottage up north. Sister is out doing something. So it is just me and the cat at home this Good Friday. Chilling.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

indian embassy

My head feels a bit mushy today and I just wished I could stay in bed watching TV or movies. Unfortunately I cannot since I have to head in to Stockholm town. I kind of need that Indian visa and the handling time is a few days so I desperately need to hand in the application today. I asked if they could make it in time and they said it should work out. So now I just need to get some clothes on, get some breakfast into my stomach, and head out.

damn those taxes

My stomach hurts. I just logged on SKAT which is the Danish tax agency. It seems I have tax underpayment penalty to be paid. Which totally sucks since it is quite a lot. And I do not understand it at all.

This totally spoils the fact that I just bought a ticket to India for a 12 days vacation and an Indian wedding. Damn it.